Sponsoring husband and children in the UAE

The usual expat family scenario is this: the husband gets a job assignment in Dubai and the wife (“trailing spouse”) and children join the husband to start their new life in Dubai. The husband’s visa will be sponsored by his employer and in turn, he will sponsor the visa of his family members.

However, some cases are different – like ours.

We came here because of the job offer I received. In some expat families, the spouse with the employment permit arrives in Dubai first and make the necessary arrangements to settle (find a house, car, school etc) before calling in the other family members.

I didn’t want to come here alone. (More like, I couldn’t sleep at night knowing my small child is miles and miles away)

My husband and then 3-year old daughter came together with me as tourists. I had an employment permit. I worked, my husband was the “trailing spouse” who stayed at home to reconnect with his daughter and made lovely bentos for me everyday.

Getting our UAE visas in 2007

This was taken in 2007, right after we got our UAE visas 

In cases like this, the husband could look for a job immediately before his tourist visa expires 30 days after arrival and extendable for another 30 days but it wasn’t an option for us that time: we have yet to find a school for our daughter as well as someone to take care of her after school hours. He can’t go around looking for a job with a three year old child in tow. We didn’t have much time so I had to sponsor him first (and our daughter).

I get asked for questions like this: How do you go about sponsoring your husband in the UAE?

The thing is – being a Muslim country where it’s regarded that the men should be the ‘head of the family’, not the women, not all women can stand as a sponsor for their family members, the Dubai General Department for Residency and Foreigners Affairs requires that “the wife shall be an engineer, or doctor or a teacher”.  If the woman works in other than the above listed professions, she needs to make a petition to the department to be exempted from this requirement, and the immigration department will decide on this request and pass its resolution of acceptance or rejection. In case of acceptance, the basic salary in this case shall be Dhs 10,000 or Dhs 9,000 plus accommodation. (Reference)

We got our UAE visas – mine first at the end of February 2007. Though I had an employment permit, I need to undergo medical tests (as all workers here do) before my passport gets stamped with residence (not to be confused with permanent residence visas in other countries as “Residence” status in the UAE is tied with your job. You lose your job and you only have 30 days either to find another or exit the country.). I needed to get my residence status first before I can sponsor family members.

Time was running out of their tourist visa.

I was so scared they’d have to fly out of the country and come back again with a new tourist visa (Japan passport holders get automatic tourist visas on arrival). That time, my husband knows very little English and Pristine (then 3) wasn’t very comfortable without me.

Luckily, we got their visas at the nick of time.

*The husband got his ‘wife’s visa’ replaced with his own residence (employment) visa after my mom came to stay with us and he finally went out and got a job, 4 months after we arrived.

Do you have any UAE visa questions? I’ll do my best to answer them, shoot me a comment below if you have.

30 thoughts on “Sponsoring husband and children in the UAE

  1. Great post, very informative! We are still awaiting our visas…we’ve been to the Oman border and back twice already! As American passport holders, we get an automatic 30 days tourist visa but I’m tired of going there! Under my husband’s visa, once I get my visa, could I lease or buy a car? Or does it HAVE to be in his name? Also, did you petition to be exempted (if so, how long did they take before responding) and if you didn’t petition then I assume you have one of the three jobs lol


    • If you have a valid UAE driver’s license, then I don’t see the reason why you can’t rent/lease a car. But it’s always better to ask at the desk, they’re available in any malls πŸ™‚


  2. How stressful! As if moving was not stressful enough. I enjoyed reading this from a cultural perspective and as someone who would like to travel more one day. I admire how women can pick up themselves and/or their families and move to a new country. I don’t think I would ever have the… the word escapes me… to do it myself.


  3. Hi,
    I am Arman from Mumbai, India. My husband has left for Abu Dhabi last week with an employment visa of 3 months which he will convert to 3 years work permit, then get a labour card, then take a flat in his name and then be able to sponsor me. This whole procedure seems very lengthy. I am here with a 3 month old daughter and we miss him dearly. Could you tell me what is the best option for us to be with him as soon as possible.
    I love your posts and have subscribed specially because I will be residing in U.A.E soon myself πŸ™‚


    • You can come here with a tourist visa. I am not sure about the tourist visa policies for Indian nationals so have your husband check with the travel agencies here.

      Yes, it is a lengthy procedure because: some companies do not convert the employment permit to residence visa immediately and instead utilize the 60 days grace period.

      When someone has an employment permit enters the UAE, there’s no need to go for medicals immediately to change the permit into a proper visa. There’s that 60 days grace period. Some employers delay sending their employers for medical tests, in turn delaying the whole visa process.

      I arrived on January 13, 2007 but only sent for medicals in mid-February and got my visa at the end of February. See if I didn’t ask my family to come here on tourist visa to be with me, I would’ve suffered being away from them too long!


      • Hi,
        Thank u so much for your reply and it has made my decision quite clear too. My husband has already seen and booked a flat there and i have applied for my visit visa and hope to join him soon. Sorry for the late reply as I am always busy with my little one these days.


  4. Sometimes it gets very complicated moving from one country to another, problems can present any time but if youΒ΄re focused like you were on your goal, you can work out difficulties. IΒ΄m glad you were able to work things out and also cause you have a small child and they are more important than anything.


  5. Hi,

    I had a question for you related to the same issue you had. we have the same case scenario as yours but the only thing is that my wife doesn’t fall into the job category and as you said she needs to file a petition to get herself exempted from that. Do you know what would be the exact format for the petition letter and where would we be submitting that. whether we have to submit with the application or earlier.

    Also to tell you that we went today for my application and the immigration officer said to my wife that she can’t do my resident visa because she doesn’t have a higher post (her current post is Coordinating Officer on her visa) plus her salary has to be around Dhs 15,000 whereas hers is Dhs 12,500 which is also as stated by you or elsewhere as minimum requirement if wife is not a engineer, doctor or teacher. Also is it that wife’s studies should be related to medical, engineering or educational fields or her job has to be doctor, nurse, teacher or engineer ?

    Can you help me with this or atleast shed some light ? How much time it took you to get your visa ?


  6. just a quick one. working at a reputable company but not a big amount of salary. i have a son back home and was wondering if it would be a more practical option if i sponsor hin under resident visa so he can come over anytime or just provide for a visit visa? and would u know if companies are willing to do this as well for employees?


    • Sorry to answer this so late but how often will your son come here? And how old is he? Depending on that, you can calculate how much is the cost and if it better if he comes on visit visa each and every time rather than sponsoring him under resident visa.

      Also, if he has resident visa, he should not be out of the UAE for more than 6 months.


  7. Hi there,
    Very helpful info, thx for that.
    I would like to ask, should be simple question πŸ™‚
    I’m in Dubai 2 years, worked for one company and now I’ve got offer from another company and would like to move.
    My wife is under my sponsorship (husband visa)
    What will happen to her visa now. What I have to do. Should I cancel her visa and apply for new, or …?
    Thank you in advance

    Nice blog πŸ™‚


  8. I would like to sponsor my husband and I work as EA for a private healthcare provider in the region.

    Am I eligible to sponsor him?

    Thank you!


  9. Hi
    I got a job in uae and will join soon and got family status, so visa n evrythng vl be arrange by company. my query is that my wife is an engg, so how could she start her job there or she has to search job frm native country first before coming to UAE UAE law permits her to work.
    kindly help .


  10. Good day mam grace,,im Ron a filipino working here in dubai and engaged in a realationship with a married woaman in the philippines with two kids from her former husband. My partner had long been separated with her husband, in fact nullity of ther marriage is on going under the philippine courts. This recent time, my partener and i decided to settle here in dubai together with her two,kids from previous relationship.My query mam grace is that: considering that we are just living in as couple without the benifit of marriage ,do i have the qualification to bring my live in partner together with her two kids here in dubai? Granting i would qualify, what should i do? What necessary requirements ‘or permission that i must to submit and comply?hoping for your answer mam grace thanks n more power


  11. Halowww good day again mam grace,,anyway this is just addition to my prevoius comment,,,Actually wev been living together here with my live in partner for quite a longtime in fact she had been going in and out her at uae under tourist visa. ,being out of school youth with limited education, its difficult on my part to understand implementing laws particularly in a foreign country like uae,,now my query: is the uae government penalized foreign nationals (filipinos) who are living together without the benifit of marriage?more so that one of the parties had legal impediment as amarried woman on her country of origin and her marriage is yet to b e anulled..If so, then do we have to keep in secret our cohabitation?thanks again mam grace


  12. My husband put tracking system in my car to check me..as i wanna sell the car the guys who were checking everything inside the car discover it..can i use this against him in the court as trying to divorce (but he doesnt want)n have hearing here in Dubai..


  13. Hi,
    I came here with 3o days visit visa with my husband who has employer visa and we extended visit visa another 30 days, and now it will expire next 5 days but we want to change it to a resident visa on my husband’s.. So can i stay here at dubai while doing the procedures even after the date of expiring my visit visa or should i exit? As i dont want to leave him for 3 weeks or more till i got the visa..


  14. Good day Grace

    My daugter in law work as a teacher in Abu Dhabi and she struggle to get her husband sponsership she already have her residence visa. She apply for the sponsership but immigration needs a lease contract but she have a adnoc housing but adnoc do not give out tenancy contract. What do we do in this regards


  15. hi guys do anyone help me out from this tricky situation I am a Muslim girl i had married with Hindu boy and he converted into my religion we have a baby now its difficult to make his passport on Muslim name so what we should do in that case if we come Dubai with inter-caste relation is there any problem with that and will he get dependent visa if i work in Dubai as a teacher and i will sponsor my husband and my child then will my husband get job in Dubai will he get work pert when he come with resident visa after coming to Dubai is it possible to get work permit visa for my husband in Dubai itself .

    please let me know as early as possible thank you


  16. we are getting married early this year with my boyfriend but he lives in dubai but l would like to know lf lt wil be easy for me to get the visa because l wanna stay with him in dubai.


  17. Hi Grace
    I am an Indian muslim woman and have a job offer from Dubai. Large multinational in DAFZA and pretty decent salary, designation of senior manager level. I am a finance professional.
    I will be sponsoring my husband who is not a Muslim. He is indian but of a different religion. Will this cause any problems in obtaining the necessary permission from the immigration department for sponsoring my husband?


  18. Hi,
    I am Raj from Mumbai. My daughter has got a job in Abu Dhabi and has recently got her Emirates ID. Me and my wife are her dependent parents. As she is alone there, we would like to shift and stay with her in Abu Dhabi.
    What is the process to get a long-term Visa for dependent parents to stay in Abu Dhabi and how long can we stay.
    Thanks and Regards


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